Alcatel Alenia Space to provide on-board and ground segment equipment for the LISA Pathfinder
Paris, October 25, 2006 - Alcatel Alenia Space today announced that it will develop and deliver on-board and ground segments equipment for the LISA Pathfinder program. LISA Pathfinder will provide in-orbit testing and validation for the new concepts and technologies that will be used on ESA/NASA’s Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA) mission, which aims to detect and measure interplanetary gravitational waves.
The LISA mission, the world’s first space-based gravity wave detector, will consist of test masses contained in three spacecrafts flying approximately 5 million kilometres apart in a equilateral triangle formation. They will act as an interferometer and will measure the distortion of space causes by passing gravitational waves coming from massive black holes and galactic binaries. LISA Pathfinder, which will be launched in 2009, will use test masses only 30 cm apart and placed on a single spacecraft.
Alcatel Alenia Space will provide the X-band transponder, one of the key spacecraft units that will act as the unique interface between the satellite and the ground segment. It receives commands from the ground segment and transmits spacecraft telemetries, instrument information and ranging signals. Alcatel Alenia Space will also provide the Power Specific Check-Out Equipment hardware and software, simulating the solar panels and the batteries, and is dedicated to test the spacecraft’s power sub-system during assembly, integration and validation phases. Units will be delivered to EADS SPACE, the satellite prime contractor, between 2007 and end of 2008.
In the scientific instrumentation domain, Alcatel Alenia Space will develop crucial mission equipment dedicated to measuring gravitational waves, such as test masses, the caging mechanism to guarantee the safe blocking of the test masses during launch as well as the Electric Propulsion Diagnostic Package dedicated to monitoring and characterizing the environment induced by the electric propulsion on board the spacecraft.
Alcatel Alenia Space has more that 30 years experience in scientific instrumentation for the European missions. The company also has an extensive experience in the field of command and telemetry units in the S, X and Ka bands, successfully proven in European space exploration missions such as Cassini-Huygens, Mars Express, Rosetta and Venus Express. Alcatel Alenia Space is leader in check-out equipment and is the main supplier of check-out systems for Ariane since the beginning of the program.
About Alcatel Alenia Space
Alcatel Alenia Space is the European leader in satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures. Created in July 2005, the company brings together the vast experience and know-how of Alcatel Space and Alenia Spazio to form a new leading force in European space technology. Alcatel Alenia Space represents a worldwide standard for space development that impacts everybody’s future: from navigation to telecommunications, from meteorology to environmental monitoring, from defense to science and observation. Alcatel Alenia Space is an affiliate of Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) (67%) and Finmeccanica (Milan:SIFI.MI, FNC.IM) (33%).
Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers and enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. Alcatel brings its leading position in fixed and mobile broadband networks, applications and services, to help its partners and customers build a user-centric broadband world. With sales of EURO 13.1 billion and 58,000 employees in 2005, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit Alcatel on the Internet: http://www.alcatel.com
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